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1. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Preface
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selected essays
2. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Ryan Darr The Virtue of Justice and the Justice of Institutions: Aquinas on Money and Just Exchange
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Justice, according to Thomas Aquinas, is a personal virtue. Modern theorists, by contrast, generally treat justice as a virtue of social institutions. Jean Porter rightly argues that both perspectives are necessary. But how should we conceive the relationship between the virtue of justice and the justice of institutions? I address this question by drawing from Aquinas’s account of the role of the convention of money in mediating relations of just exchange. Developing Aquinas’s account, I defend two conclusions and raise one problem. The conclusions are: (1) Aquinas does presuppose the need for just institutions in just relations; (2) Aquinas highlights the importance of an underappreciated consideration: the way institutions mediate just or unjust relationships. The problem, which naturally arises from bringing together the virtue of justice and the justice of institutions, is whether and how individuals can act justly in a context of structural injustice.
3. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Elisabeth Rain Kincaid Professional Ethics and the Recovery of Virtue
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In my paper I argue that developments within legal ethics—specifically a return to emphasizing the importance of precepts for governing communities capable of forming virtue and for protecting the vulnerable—can contribute to discussions in theological ethics regarding the rule of precepts for the church’s formation of its members in virtue. This concern is especially timely given the recent sex abuse scandals in Protestant and Catholic churches, which have raised wide-spread concerns about the capacity of churches to form character and protect the vulnerable. I consider how this understanding of the relationship between the role of precepts and the community, drawn from legal professional ethics, has important analogical similarities to Aquinas’s description of the virtue of religion. I then consider how Francisco Suárez, SJ, develops Aquinas’s theory to explain how rules are developed within the community, not simply imposed from above, and serve to protect the vulnerable.
4. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
James McCarty The Power of Hope in the Work of Justice: Christian Ethics after Despair
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This essay engages Miguel De La Torre’s proposal to “embrace hopelessness” and argues that Christians should hold on to hope. The author places De La Torre’s argument in conversation with others who have written on hope and hopelessness and excavates two main weaknesses in his argument: first, a definition of hope that does not stand up to a review of the literature on the topic, especially as advocated by scholars from oppressed communities, and, second, a proposal for hopelessness that does not address how it can contribute to sustainable social transformation. The author then defends hope by drawing on the theological labor and lived experience of oppressed people who utilize hope to empower transformative social action.
5. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Gerald McKenny The Rich Young Ruler and Christian Ethics: A Proposal
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In Christian ethics the Gospel story of the encounter of a rich young ruler with Jesus has been interpreted in two major ways: one that treats Jesus’ directive to the ruler as a counsel that goes beyond the commandments the ruler claims to have kept, and another that treats the directive as contained in the commandments and exposing his failure to keep them. I reconstruct Calvin’s version of the second interpretation, contrast it with Aquinas’s version of the first, and point out some problems with it. I then formulate a revised version that avoids the problems and amounts to a promising alternative for Christian ethics.
6. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Robyn Boeré Can a Child Die a Good Death? Child Ethics and Mortality
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Jeffrey P. Bishop argues that contemporary understandings of the good death are predicated on conscious choice. This focus on rational conscious choice as the primary criterion has troubling implications for how we evaluate the death of children, whose capacity for autonomy is unclear. In this essay, I will explore ways in which the death of children creates silences, arising most notably from our ideas about the good death. In contrast, I will argue for a different model of a good death that is predicated on intersubjectivity, shared meaning-making, and presence, and which finds its foundation in Christian eschatology, which is not an escape from the present; rather, all our present actions find meaning in God. Our completeness must always and can only be found in God, and understood this way, children can die a good death.
7. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Stephanie C. Edwards Pharmaceutical Memory Modification and Christianity’s “Dangerous” Memory
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Pharmaceutical memory modification is the use of a drug to dampen, or eliminate completely, memories of traumatic experience. While standard therapeutic treatments, even those including intense pharmaceuticals, can potentially offer individual biomedical healing, they are missing an essential perspective offered by Christian bioethics: re/incorporation of individuals and traumatic memories into communities that confront and reinterpret suffering. This paper is specifically grounded in Christian ethics, engaging womanist understandings of Incarnational, embodied personhood, and Johann Baptist Metz’s “dangerous memory.” It develops an ethical framework of Christian “enfleshed counter-memory” that responds to the specific challenge of pharmaceutical memory modification, and traumatic experience generally.
8. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Jeremy Posadas Reproductive Justice Re-Constructs Christian Ethics of Work
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This essay proposes an anti-work Christian ethics of work: that is, an ethics of work that breaks Christianity’s complicity with capitalism’s death-dealing ideology of work. Taking up feminist anti-work theory’s call to the “refusal of work,” the essay first clarifies the relationship between work and care within the capitalist work-system (a concept coined here by the author). It then argues that the activist framework known as reproductive justice—once it is expanded to the whole sphere of social reproduction—offers a moral norm adequate for an anti-work Christian ethics of work. This new norm resonates with the Christian account of Creation, in which ruach circulates for the joy-filled liveliness of all.
9. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Matthew Philipp Whelan Agroecology and Natural Law
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This paper engages agroecology by drawing on natural law reflection. Agroecology considers the agricultural field as an ecosystem (an agroecosystem), designing and managing agriculture on this basis. My purpose is to show how certain strands of natural law reflection offer important tools for theological and ethical engagement with this approach to agriculture. More specifically, I argue that while agroecology can help concretize natural law’s claims about natural order, natural law can help further develop agroecological insights about ecological order and its implications for agriculture, as well as bring to the surface some of agroecology’s underlying anthropological assumptions and political implications.
10. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Todd Whitmore Holy Deviance: Christianity, Race, and Class in the Opioid Crisis
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In recent years, public discourse has largely embraced the idea that persons with addictions have a “brain disease,” and ought to be treated medically rather than judicially. This article first argues that this social shift is mostly the result of middle- and upper-class whites being among the addicted. The medical language is deployed so that such persons avoid the stigma of “deviance” commonly linked to addiction. Second, this article argues for a Christian “holy deviance,” whereby Christians become deviant by going out to those who are already marked by society as deviant, letting the latter know in word and deed that they are loved.
book reviews
11. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Raymond R. Roberts Sustaining Ministry: Foundations and Practices for Serving Faithfully. By Sondra Wheeler
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12. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Keith Soko Catholic Bioethics and Social Justice: The Praxis of U.S. Health Care in a Globalized World. Edited by M. Therese Lysaught and Michael McCarthy
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13. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Heike Peckruhn Laughing at the Devil: Seeing the World with Julian of Norwich. By Amy Laura Hall
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14. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Russell P. Johnson The Perilous Sayings: Interpreting Christ’s Call to Obedience in the Sermon on the Mount. By Amos Winarto Oei
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15. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Kirk J. Nolan Protestant Virtue and Stoic Ethics. By Elizabeth Agnew Cochran
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16. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Lawrence M. Stratton God and the Illegal Alien: United States Immigration Law and a Theology of Politics. By Robert W. Heimburger
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17. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Leonard Curry Anti-Blackness and Christian Ethics. By Vincent Lloyd and Andrew Prevot
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18. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Andy Dunning Out of Exodus: A Journey of Open and Affirming Ministry. By Darryl W. Stephens, Michael I. Alleman, Andrea Brown, Ruth A. Daughterty, and Mary Merriman
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19. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Gloria Albrecht Can I Get a Witness? Thirteen Peacemakers, Community Builders, and Agitators for Faith and Justice. Edited by Charles Marsh, Shea Tuttle, and Daniel P. Rhodes
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20. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 40 > Issue: 1
Aaron Stauffer Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear. By Matthew Kaemingk
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